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Big Will

Tuna jigging questions

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I would love to hear some advice from guys who do this on a regular basis. I'm hoping kilsong can provide some of his knowledge as well. I know depth is important but I've seen alot of different techniques and jigs used. It seems the one factor that is constant is that the guys who know what they're doing can out fish everyone and hook up when no one else is getting bites. When party boat fishing it seems that 90 percent of guys are using bait and they catch most of the fish but once in awhile you see one guy who just has it dialed in on the jig. So do you vary speed and technique til you get bit? And what kind of jigs are your go to? Also some advice on equipment would be cool too because that's another issue, I'd say more fish are lost on jigs than on bait and the equipment is lighter.

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You need the captain to tell you how deep the fish are holding, for a start.  The tuna don't stay under the boat long, so you need to have a jig outfit ready to go, no time to crank a bait in and swap it for a jig. 

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23 mins ago, BrianBM said:

You need the captain to tell you how deep the fish are holding, for a start.  The tuna don't stay under the boat long, so you need to have a jig outfit ready to go, no time to crank a bait in and swap it for a jig. 

Yeah the captain usually calls out the depth between 50 and 200 feet and if you're In that zone that's where you have the best shot. But I've seen fish caught when they weren't announcing marked fish too of course. Sunset and grey light seem to be the best times but what I'm wondering is what to do when you're in that zone and you're trying to get the fish to take your offering. I'm guessing it's the same as everything else and it's a reaction strike but do they like that fast erratic type jigging like for bluefish or a slower retrieve or in between and all of the above and you just never know 

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I heard stories of a certain captain of a party boat who would come down every morning around the same time throw a jig out there and hook up almost every time. So there has to be some sharpie type knowledge that applies to this type of jigging 

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I wish I knew it .... Capt. Forsberg told me to just lift a Vi-Ke jig, made for cod, up and down, letting it flutter, and that worked for my first jig tuna. I don't remember what I was doing for any others, it's been a while. 

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some of the boats we fish have big screen TV in the salon or out back with the sonar on so we can see the fish, and drop to that depth.

 

most other boats shout the depths, 

you need to remember tide, and scope that will effect your jig depth when dropping......

 

getting below and jigging up thru strike zone is important.

 

some jigs are designed to work with a faster jig motion, others are better with slower jig action..

thats why we have a few different types, sizes, and colors..

 

OTI have a few sizes, FC labo, PointT jude, hammered diamond, hooker ,are all in my bag...plus more

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10 mins ago, paul708 said:

some of the boats we fish have big screen TV in the salon or out back with the sonar on so we can see the fish, and drop to that depth.

 

most other boats shout the depths, 

you need to remember tide, and scope that will effect your jig depth when dropping......

 

getting below and jigging up thru strike zone is important.

 

some jigs are designed to work with a faster jig motion, others are better with slower jig action..

thats why we have a few different types, sizes, and colors..

 

OTI have a few sizes, FC labo, PointT jude, hammered diamond, hooker ,are all in my bag...plus more

When I first read that I didn't think you were serious. A TV with sonar? That's crazy. That must be a fancy charter boat. I'm sure one day they'll make a jig where the eyes are little cameras and you can wear a pair of those virtual reality headsets :laugh: maybe some like night vision or heat sensing so you can see the fish from far away. In the irt post kilsong was showing that one jig he said he caught hundreds of fish on that was all beat up. Maybe it's better to learn to work and have confidence in one jig? Some swear by the hammered like the cmc jigs and other like the slow pitch or butterfly. 

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Really hope @ksong chimes in on this since he's the guy known as being one of the greatest when it comes to this. What I'm really into learning is strategy. You have a a boat with 30 people the captain calls out a depth and your jig is in the water you drop down to that depth and what is the next step. I know with bluefish I lift the rod quickly as high as possible let it flutter down take a few fast cranks and repeat and I do this all very fast and that is how I get the most hookups. Do tuna like this kind of jigging as well?

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yeah, the sonar on TV has been used for years, great for bluefin in OBX,,,well, anywhere:)

 

i have 4 or 5 go to jigs...i listed them. and use....they work for me 

 

one of the OTI i use and recomend at the shop ,i have caught many different types of fish, 

 

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11 mins ago, Big Will said:

Really hope @ksong chimes in on this since he's the guy known as being one of the greatest when it comes to this. What I'm really into learning is strategy. You have a a boat with 30 people the captain calls out a depth and your jig is in the water you drop down to that depth and what is the next step. I know with bluefish I lift the rod quickly as high as possible let it flutter down take a few fast cranks and repeat and I do this all very fast and that is how I get the most hookups. Do tuna like this kind of jigging as well?

i think Kils out of the country fishin for a few days,,

 

 

blue fishing is probably little different.

 

 

most tuna fishing is usually in deeper water..

current, scope, jig weight,line weight, will all effect depth of your drop..

you may hear 90' and let out 90'100' of line..drift and scope may have you well above the fish,,,,

getting in the strike area, is key.......

 

when going for bluefin, a fast action with the jig rod, after getting to the right depth. get good bites.

a jig designed for fast jigging will work good.

 

yellowfin, i use a slower jig action. with jigs that seem to work better when a slow jig sweep with rod is used.

 

of course, when we jig our guys  use different jigs and actions. when a pattern is seen,,,guys do adjust to what fish are biting on.. 

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24 mins ago, paul708 said:

i think Kils out of the country fishin for a few days,,

 

 

blue fishing is probably little different.

 

 

most tuna fishing is usually in deeper water..

current, scope, jig weight,line weight, will all effect depth of your drop..

you may hear 90' and let out 90'100' of line..drift and scope may have you well above the fish,,,,

getting in the strike area, is key.......

 

when going for bluefin, a fast action with the jig rod, after getting to the right depth. get good bites.

a jig designed for fast jigging will work good.

 

yellowfin, i use a slower jig action. with jigs that seem to work better when a slow jig sweep with rod is used.

 

of course, when we jig our guys  use different jigs and actions. when a pattern is seen,,,guys do adjust to what fish are biting on.. 

I'd love to go on a trip where it's just jigging. I have two trips booked for next year but its mainly trolling. They seem to do best with that though up here during early season. I want to go to North Carolina one year though. And yeah I guess that would be true even with braided line on a drift you need more line out then the depth you're trying to reaching. With a 7oz jig which seems to be a good size if I had 100 feet out what would be my depth be approx? I know current plays into this but let's say average drift speed 

Edited by Big Will

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Best advice is to keep the jig in the water!  Jigging can get tiring quick but you need to keep at it.  Kinda like casting for hardtails.  Repetition is key

 

 

You have a small window when the streak under the boat and if your jig is not there they are swimming past at high speed and gone

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My experience with jigging tuna is only in Hawaii, but it might translate well to our own area. As stated above you have to know how deep they are and get your jig below them , then burn and jig , crank, jig ,crank,jig , crank , jig it through that depth , by burn I mean FAST. This is physically demanding. Once past the depth, open the bail and drop again if the drift allows, lotsa bites on the fall using butterfly jigs so if anything feels different , swing! Ahi and small (under 50 lb) bigeyes are the target species. 6' custom jigging rods on Calstar blanks , Stellas. 80 lb braid, 50 or 60 lb floro.

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27 mins ago, Captain Ahab said:

Best advice is to keep the jig in the water!  Jigging can get tiring quick but you need to keep at it.  Kinda like casting for hardtails.  Repetition is key

 

 

You have a small window when the streak under the boat and if your jig is not there they are swimming past at high speed and gone

That's why I feel that jigging could be alot more productive than bait fishing. The fish are under the boat and with bait and mono it's harder to adjust. 

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Back in the 80's the Hudson Canyon and Bacardi areas were very popular and productive for all species of tuna. Having worked on a Sheepshead Bay partyboat  I was always welcome as a "puller", someone who did not pay their fare, enjoyed the experience and left whatever they caught to be sold and or distributed to the boats'paying customers. My favorite jigging outfit was a 6'6" 30-80lb Sabre California (I think it's C glass.) and a Penn 114H Senator II (aluminum spool 0 filled with 60lb clear Berkley Big Game. My favorite jig was a 6oz Vi-Ke  re rigged with a heavy split ring,swivel and 7/0 short shank Mustad  9175. Would cast the jig forward on an anchored boat, or "into the drift"  if drifting, judge approx depth as stated by the capt. and made sharp lifts and drops until the current began lifting the jig. A fast retrieve and start again. It is really a solid guideline for you, but dues in all fishing have to be paid, and if  it doesn't always end well think of it as a learning experience! GOOD-LUCK

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